Why You Need a private FB Group, and how to Grow it


You may have heard about why you need a group, you may think you only need a group and not a page or a page and not a group.  You may already have both.  

Let’s dig in and figure out what you need and why AND how to grow them and ultimately get BUSINESS from them…

I have photographers tell me all the time that they don't have time for FB, or they have a group and it’s dead, or they don’t get business from FB, or FB ads don’t work.

I am here to tell you that FB DOES work.  Love it or hate it, when used correctly, FB can be a great addition to your marketing and how you get leads and how you interact with your clients.

Here is why you need a business page.  A business page is necessary if you plan on running FB ads, and you should run ads. Anyone on FB can search for your page and they can see your page.

A group, on the other hand, can be made private or public.  I recommend having your group private where you need to approve anyone who wants to join.  This is especially beneficial for boudoir photographers. But no matter what you photograph, having a group is more intimate than your business page and you want people in there to get to know you a bit better than they would by just going to your website or your FB biz page.

Your page is more about your business, and your group can be more casual and like hanging out with friends… more like your personal profile but geared towards your clients.

What’s nice about a group is you can ask people questions before they join.  My group is for my boudoir clients and women who are interested in learning more about my boudoir… but I also promote empowerment and self-confidence in there as well.  

The questions I ask are 1.  Are you female, and 2 if you want to know about upcoming specials or promotions, leave your email address and I will add you to my mailing list.  

Yes, you need to individually approve each person, and yes you need to copy their email address and add it to your mailing list, but you can give that to someone else to do if you want, like an assistant, or you can even ask a past client or someone active in the group to moderate it for you as well, but it really doesn't take too long to do and it’s a good way for you to see how many people are getting in there and even do a post to welcome new members.

A little aside about running ads- As of right now, you are not able to promote a post from within a group.  So if you want to do a live video and plan on running it as an ad, you will need to post that on your business page… you can still share it with your group so your members can see it, but it needs to be posted first on your business page to run an ad from there.

Running ads is a much bigger podcast episode, and not really my area of expertise.  I took a great course on FB ads, from Easton Reynolds and he keeps the course updated anytime FB changes something.  He takes you to step by step which is how I like to learn and will get you up and running with ads in no time. After you take his course, you will never again say that FB ads don't work. Here is the link of the Six Figures FB Ad Course if you are interested.

Ok, so great.  Now you know you need to have a group, but how do you get people in there? How do you grow it?

When you create your group, you can easily add any one of your friends in there from your personal page, then you will promote your new group on your FB biz page, and send out a newsletter.  You can put it on your social media as well as have it on a banner on your website. Lots of ways to get your group out there and that can be done on a regular basis.

I also copy the link to the group on my phone so when I have potential clients message me or text or DM, I can invite them into the group as well by sharing a direct and clickable link.

Another great way to grow your group is by running a contest.  The last time I ran a contest, my group grew by thousands, and here is what I did.

I posted in the group, and on my FB biz page, that I was having a contest.  It was a huge giveaway for a shoot, including hair and makeup, use of the wardrobe plus 10 digital images.  SO this is the complete and whole experience with me and it included 10 digital images… at the time my session fee was $295 and my 10 image package was worth $1600 so the total value of the giveaway was $1895.  That a BIG contest!

Now the rules:

The winner must be in the private FB group.  They must also sign up to be on my email list.  

They must be ok with me shooting and filming behind the scenes of the whole experience, including H & mup, the shoot and the reveal session where she would be choosing her images.  For me, I told her she could choose from beauty or boudoir or a combination of both. You would decide what genre you wanted to shoot… I would make it what you want to shoot more of because this is a really great promo for you too.  So for example, if you are shooting families and babies but you want to move into shooting more boudoir, then make this contest for boudoir… that means the person who wins can not choose for you to take family photos- ok? Does that make sense?  You will understand why in a sec.

So, not only do they need to be in the group but to enter, they need to add their friends to the group.  Each person they add gets them an entry. They need to comment on the post with the contest that they have added their friends as well- this not only creates engagement, but it keeps that post active in the group and also keeps putting it in front of people as a reminder. Facebook has limited how many people can be added to the group at one time, and I can’t remember what the limit is… I'm thinking 50…?  Anyway, when their friends get added, hopefully, they will see the action that is going on in the group and want to be a part of it as well, then they also add their friends.

So you keep the contest going for 7-10 days or so… not much longer because 1- it’s a heck of a lot of work for you to keep up with and 2, people will start losing interest if it goes much longer than 10 days.  

Go live a couple of times while the contest is on so you can call out people who are in the lead, and keep them excited.

I did the draw live and told them the time that we would be going live to announce the winner.  

When I had a winner, I reached out and did a consultation, just like a regular client.  I recommend doing it in person because that is the best way to have her understand the experience and for her to be prepared on shoot day. I did some video when she arrived for her consult. I went over my pricing with her and told her that she will have approx 20-30 images to choose her 10 from, and if she wanted to buy more she certainly could, but she could also 100% take her 10 free images and nothing more (which is what she did, btw- but we are totally ok with that because for the cost of your hair and makeup artist, you got a bunch of new women in your group that are ready to get to know you AND you got a TON of great marketing material as well.)  Remember that this giveaway is NOT for you to make money- it’s to grow your group and your business.

So we book her shoot date, and we go live several times during the shoot, and also shoot some video… I would recommend having an extra hand there to do the shooting, like your assistant or asking your hair and makeup artist to stay for a bit and take some footage, but if you don't have anyone to help, ( I didn't when I ran my first contest) then just set up your phone to shoot video and set up your laptop to go live with…Or just alternate between lives and video with your phone on a tripod.  It doesn't have to be complicated, but You want to make sure you are also in the videos and it’s not just a video of your client.  

I showed them live the difference with posing… Click each photo… here is her just standing there and here she is after I direct her into a flattering pose, then show the back of the camera flipping back and forth between the poses.

Women are commenting all over the place, telling her how amazing she looks, asking questions, asking for more info on booking a shoot.  It was amazing.

Do your edits fairly fast, so you can tell people to tune in for the big reveal, book your reveal within a week if you can, or sooner.  People will be excited to see.

When I went live for the reveal, people were helping her choose images and everything- so fun!

So now you have a group with a bunch of new people in there, and they are totally engaged and excited about the prospect of doing a shoot with you, or at least staying in the group while they think about it… They all have gotten to know you a bit more and know if they want to stay or not, and you grew your group, your email list and your Instagram ANNND you have a ton of footage and BTS shots to use for your own marketing

I will tell you, there is no simple way for you to keep track of the entries. You need to manually write down their names, and how many people they added.  You need to manually add their email address to your mailing list. And you need to manually approve the people they added to be in your group. All of this takes time, so make sure you plan for that.

You can use a free app called King Sumo to run the contest, and I will link that as well, and it’s great for you to collect email addresses and have them add automatically to your email list and take that step off your plate, but you will still need to check to see how many people they have added to the group and keep track.  I just literally just wrote down their name and put little tics beside their name when they added people. Facebook notifies you when someone wants to join the group, and if someone added their friend it will tell you… so it will say “so and so requested to add their friend Jane to the group”

Other ways to grow your group are with smaller contests but having a huge giveaway is a fantastic way to grow big and fast.

Once your group gets going make sure to post regularly in there… not sure what to post?  Ask their opinions on things, like what to have for dinner, what color couch to buy for the studio, which edit do you like better, etc.  Ask for dinner ideas, makeup tips, how to handle something your toddler did. You want to make that group like you are hanging out with friends, while still keeping it professional.  This group is for you to talk directly to your ideal client and let them get to know you better so YOU are the one they think of when they need a photographer...This is what builds the know, like and trust factor. 

20% of your posts can be about your work… the rest is helpful and entertaining content for your ideal client.

I have a free cheat sheet with a bunch of ideas on what to post in your facebook group to get people commenting and responding, which increases your engagement and FB like that so it will show you posts to more people in the group.  Also remember to post a video in there as well, or even better, go live. FB loves live videos… and even if you hate the thought of going live, once you do one, it gets much easier- I promise..and your group and page will be more visible the more you do lives.



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